Tax revenue targets are in reach
The achievement is largely thanks to the housing market, which has been rebounding on low interest rates and deregulations in household loans, as well as the tax hike on cigarettes.
According to the Ministry of Strategy and Finance on Tuesday, national tax revenue stood at 206.2 trillion won ($171 billion) as of November 2015, which is 8.9 percent or 16.8 trillion won more than the same period in 2014.
In 2015, the number of property transactions hit nearly 1.2 million, the most since 2006. Cigarette prices also rose 2,000 won starting last January.
Although figures for December haven’t yet been included, total tax revenue is expected to meet the government’s aim of 215.7trillion won, the ministry said.
The government had reached 95.6 percent of its target as of November, the report showed.
Income taxes collected showed a notable increase due to the property market boom, up 16 percent or 7.9 trillion won to 56.5 trillion won. Corporate income taxes also rose 8.2 percent or 3.3 trillion won to 43.7 trillion won, as more companies reported their earnings, fearing more thorough government audits promised this past year.
Value-added taxes fell 0.1 percent or 100 billion won to 52.8 trillion won.
Despite the improvements in tax collection, the ministry said the government posted a deficit of 30.1 trillion won in its operating budget over the January-November period.
The budget excludes earnings generated by various pensions and employment insurance payouts.
Meanwhile, the consolidated fiscal balance showed a 4.1 trillion won surplus.
“The fiscal balance is also improving, as the operating budget deficit narrowed in recent months,” said Lee Jang-ro, director at the financial planning bureau at the ministry.
The deficit narrowed about 30 percent from September to October, from 46.3 trillion won to 32.5 trillion won.
The central government’s debt stood at 561.2 trillion won, up 11.6 percent 58.2trillion won from a year earlier, the report showed.
BY SONG SU-HYUN [email@example.com]